President's Message
September 2002

1.  Sometime next year, three of the leading producers of opera recordings — Decca, Deutsche Grammophone and Philips — will stop releasing new full-length operas on CD and switch exclusively to video production on DVD. [I guess that means the end of stereo recording of voices--traditional video production puts all vocals dead center and mono. John Culshaw would be rolling in his grave] [NYT 14Jl02].

2.  Paul Lehrman writes in MIX about his FM reception problems in the difficult Boston environment. His solution was the Cambridge Soundworks Model One. It features a GaAs MESFET front end, adapted from cell phone technology, rather than the standard IC or bipolar transistor front ends, which allows it to better sort out the wanted station from the spurious signals of strong adjacent channels. [Au02]

3.  TOKYO (Reuters) - What VHS couldn't do, digital did. Sony Corp's Betamax video tape recorder, which famously lost the 1980s video format war but held on for decades as a niche product, will finally be laid to rest after digital formats delivered a death blow to its prospects. Sony said on Tuesday it would only make 2,000 more Betamax machines before discontinuing the product altogether, ending its 27-year history -- spent mostly in the shadow of the Matsushita group's rival VHS format. "With digital machines and other new recording formats taking hold in the market, demand has continued to decline and it has become difficult to secure parts," Sony said in a statement. Betamax -- held up as an example of how the first to market is not guaranteed commercial success -- had already been pulled from overseas markets in the 1990s, a Sony spokesman said. Production of the machine in the last business year to March totaled 2,800 units, a tiny fraction of the 2.3 million made in the peak year of 1984 and the 18 million made over its lifetime. Sony said it would continue to offer repairs and manufacture tapes for format, adding the move would not affect its Betacam products for the broadcasting industry. [Posted on the BetaPal chat page]

4.  The latest issue of Audio Critic (No. 28) has arrived. It is mostly written by Peter Aczel which partly explains the long time since the last one.

5.  Sensaura, a company based in England, has developed software to create the illusion that sounds from anywhere around a listener's head. It will allow a cell-phone use to conduct a conference call in which each of the participants' voices would seem to be coming from a different position. [It uses crosstalk cancellation, like the old Carver Sonic Hologram] Scientific American, Fe02.

David Hadaway

President, Boston Audio Society


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updated 11/11/04